One of the first places we visited in Switzerland was Zurich. Although Zurich has a lot of attractions for the average visitor; we were interested in the religious history of the place. The Anabaptist heritage to some degree is rooted here in Zurich and especially in the Grossmünster.  Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531) was a leader of the reformation in Switzerland. In 1518 he became pastor of the Grossmünster and began preaching on ideas of reforming the Catholic church. By 1525 he had replaced the Catholic Mass with a new communion liturgy.  It was along this time that some of his parishioners broke away from him and formed what would be know as the Anabaptists today.

The Grossmünster or “Great Minister” or “Great Cathedral” is a very interesting building. Construction was started around 1100 and it was inaugurated around 1220. It was built on the site of an earlier church that had been commissioned by Charlemagne.  It is built on the banks of the Limmat River and it is distinguished by its twin towers.

The Rathaus and in the background, the Grossmünster on the north banks of the Limmat River from the Rathaus Bridge

I wanted to show you more pictures of the Grossmünster and Zurich and the area where it is.   Here you can see the Grossmünster from the Rathaus Bridge over the Limmat River. The Rathaus is the building on the foreground left; built partially over the river and the Rathaus Bridge is part of that construction.

Street Sign :Grossmünsterplatz” or “Grossmünster Place”



The north entrance
Close up of the panels on the door
Close up of the panels on the north entrance door


When you look at the larger version of either picture by clicking on it, you can get a better view of the double wide doors and the panels that are part of it.  There is a lot of history shown right there in those doors.  I am including a few smaller shots of several of the panels.






And a few closeups of the panels:

Door Panels; North door of Grossmünster
Door Panels; North door of Grossmünster
Door Panels; North door of Grossmünster
Door Panels; North door of Grossmünster
Door Panels; North door of Grossmünster







Over the door are several interesting inscriptions. The one on top of the arch says something like this, “The reformation of Huldrych Zwingus occurred in this house of God”.

Inscriptions over the door


This model of the Grossmünster is in the courtyard on the north west side of the building.

Model of Grossmünster
Model of Grossmünster

I have no pictures of the inside of Grossmünster as photography is prohibited there.  However we were allowed to buy tickets to climb to the observation deck of the right tower in this picture.

Different angle on the Grossmünster towers
Descending from the Grossmünster tower

At first it was a tight spiral concrete staircase, then it opened up into rooms. You went up each level on wooden staircases. Here is a shot of Rebecca coming back down from one of the levels near the top.






From the top you had a great view of the city and the lake and the river in all directions. The next picture shows a view of the city along the Limmat River.

Zurich and the Limmat, as seen from the Grossmünster

This shot is from across the river by the Felix Manz plaque where we were filming earlier in the morning.

Filming by the Limmat with the Grossmünster in the background. The Feliz Manz plaque is on the left by the river to the left of where I am seated almost behind that tree.

And now I will follow with a number of photos from the Grossmünster and the Grossmünster area with comments in the captions. If you want more information, I have some links at the bottom and there is extensive information online. I am only trying to give you readers an idea of what we saw, what impressed us, (or me, Lester!) and what we experienced on our trip to Switzerland.

Wide angle of the Grossmünster from the courtyard. The statue on the building at the far right corner is Heinrich Bullinger, who followed Zwingli as the next pastor or Pfarr of Grossmünster.


Closeup of the Heinrich Bullinger statue and inscription


Another shot showing detail of the towers. The observation deck is visible on the tower in the foreground.
Street scene near the Grossmünster. This street is wider but many in this part of town are very narrow.
I am standing in front of the Ulrich Zwingli statue. You can see the towers of the Grossmünster in the background. This is a very busy street along the river. Trolleys and traffic and bikes and pedestrians all use the same space. The Limmat is just off frame to the left.
Closeup of the Zwingli statue. Note that he is holding a bible and a sword. Some Christians then and today have problems with this. We are showing you what we saw.
A plaque at the base of the statue about Zwingli and his lifetime accomplishments.
And the last one, another view from the observation deck of the Grossmünster looking out over the Limmat as it enters Lake Zurich.



Huldrych Zwingli



  1. Chester Schmucker

    Great information and some awesome pictures .

  2. Very informative post – I could not see the church from near distance, but could see its twin towers from a distance while standing on the bridge at the Limmat River.

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